Cozy Farming Sims
Image: PC Invasion (My Time at Portia, Stardew Valley, Fae Farm)

Are there too many farming games? The tiring onslaught of cozy farming sims

Being a farmer is harder than it looks.

Do you ever watch a live stream showcasing new games nowadays and not see a farming simulator? Not often, I’d say. This question has got me asking if there are too many farming sims out there, and the tiring onslaught of these cozy games the keep releasing.

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While nobody should be asking for less game releases, we’re living in a time where new video games practically release daily. My backlog of cozy games is piling up, and at a certain point I’m just going to have to say no to new purchases.

Stardew Valley Update Farm
Screenshot: ConcernedApe

How it all started

While games like Harvest Moon really gave birth to a whole new genre of video games, I don’t think the farming game tsunami crashed our shores quite like Stardew Valley did. Eric Barone took on the project of this critically-acclaimed game all by himself and is still to this day updating the game. With the success of that hit farming simulator, it seems like every new game that includes farming nowadays has someone saying “It’s like Stardew Valley”, or “If you like Stardew Valley, you’ll love this”.

I love Stardew Valley just as much as the next person. I’ve spent dozens of hours in that game and even went so far as to play it with tons of mods. But ever since Stardew Valley’s release, I feel as though the farming genre has tripled in size. Sure, Harvest Moon started it all, but that game walked so Stardew Valley could run.

There have been numerous new video games released after Stardew Valley heavily inspired by the hit game, such as My Time at Portia, Fae Farm, and more recently Coral Island. I can barely go through one Nintendo Direct or PlayStation State of Play without seeing at least one game that allows you to till soil, plant crops, and grow produce.

cozy farming sims
Image: Phoenix Labs

Why it’s so addicting

Now that Stardew Valley has been out for quite some time, we’re finally seeing the many works of other developers inspired by it. But we cozy gamers just keep eating them up. For some reason, we love the idea of working in video games. Doing chores on a farm, maintaining it, and growing it. Perhaps it’s because the more we work, the more rewards we see in-game, and the more we get excited to plant even more crops.

I think we love cozy farming sims because although it feels a little bit like work, it’s work without consequences, and work with an abundance of rewards. We’re living vicariously through our little character who gets to romance any person they like and spend the entire day fishing without worrying about taxes.

It’s hard to decipher what makes us cozy gamers tick when it comes to a farmer’s life compared to other simulator genres. Maybe it’s because farms are associated with a quiet and simple life. But now that I’ve played a dozen or so games that include this mechanic, there’s a part of me that’s feeling exhausted at the idea of running another farm.

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cozy farming sims
Screenshot: Stairway Games

Cozy farming fatigue

At what point does the farming simulator genre start to get stale? More and more cozy farming sims release, but none are as successful as Stardew Valley. That’s not to say they’re in any way meant to beat records and become the next-best farming game. But I wonder if anyone else is starting to feel that cozy farming fatigue.

If you’re a developer who’s making a farming game, I think that’s incredible. Do what you’re passionate about, right? But at some point, once the market has been thoroughly saturated, I wonder if fishing minigames will ever get old. It’s hard to get creative with some mechanics when a hundred games probably include the ability to fish. And how often will my grandpa die just so I can inherit his run-down farm in a small town?

But if are also starting to feel a sigh leave you when you watch a trailer for a new farming sim, you’re not alone. There are certain games that I feel break the mold and become their own unique thing. Coral Island does a great job emulating the Stardew Valley formula but has a dozen other unique mechanics. Even Moonstone Island has farming, but you’re farming for items to feed the creatures you collect that can battle with other creatures in deck-building combat.

Although the cozy farming fatigue is definitely starting to creep up on me, getting to play games that try something completely new is refreshing. Then there’s the Farming Simulator franchise, which I don’t even try to get into. It’s too realistic and mechanical for it to be considered a cozy game for me. But still, they release a new one yearly, and it seems as though people are purchasing them.

cozy farming sims
Screenshot by PC Invasion

Are there ever enough farming sims?

It’s hard to say whether there are too many cozy farming games available. I think everyone’s gaming backlog is starting to pile up, and no matter whether or not farming sims stop releasing, our backlogs will continue to rise. So in this case, I think the farming sim genre is still ever-growing. But maybe take a bit of a break from it if you’re feeling tired of the same old hoe, scythe, and watering can trio in your inventory.

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Anyka Pettigrew
Anyka Pettigrew has been a Staff Writer for PC Invasion since November 2023 and a Contributing Writer since February 2023. She is a Canadian graduate of a Bachelor of Arts degree who has been writing in games journalism for four years. Anyka is an avid guides writer but also enjoys writing anything from news pieces, to reviews, and even opinion pieces. Having a never-ending passion for video games for as long as she can remember got her into a plethora of genres like action adventure, RPGs, horror, survival etc. Some of her favorite franchises are God of War, Persona, The Last of Us, Zelda, and Resident Evil. She also enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi books, as well as drawing digital art. Anyka also regularly listens to podcasts on gaming news from 'Kinda Funny Games', and 'Play, Watch, Listen'.